These are not opinions, they are facts, as near as conscientious professionals can convey them.
Read and tell your county councilman what you think.
|Stormwater Utility Legislation, Bill 2-13 Information
Purpose – The goal of bill 2-13 is to create a dedicated, local fund to protect revenues generated by a stormwater utility fee and to implement the fee itself. The goal of the fee is to generate sufficient revenues to meet the terms of the County’s MS4 permit (20% impervious retrofit over 5 years) and its TMDL obligations (eventually about $75 million/year in restoration costs).What Does It Do?
- Creates the protected fund, with a prescribed set of uses.
- Creates an annual fee on all of the privately owned, developed property in the county.
- Creates a system of credits/reductions/rebates based on implementation of best management practices.
Defined Uses (Fund can only be used for the following purposes).
- Capital improvements for stormwater management (including stream and wetland restoration).
- Operation and maintenance of stormwater management systems and facilities.
- Public education and outreach relating to stormwater management and restoration.
- Stormwater management planning
- Review of stormwater management plans & permits (if revenues from new development are put into the fund).
- Grants to non-profit organizations for projects meeting the above purposes.
- Reasonable costs necessary to administer the fund.
Structure of the Annual Fee
- 3 tiers for residential property: High density, medium density, low density
- High Density (R15, R10) – Generally, townhouse type development: $34/year.
- Medium Density (R5, R2) – Generally single family homes: $85/year.
- Low Density (R1, RLD, RA) – Generally single family homes on large lots: $170/year.
- All non-residential charged based on actual impervious cover divided by 2,800sf times $85.
Why Residential Tiers?
- It is both beyond the bounds of the county’s existing technology and logistically unrealistic to assess the individual imperviousness of ever residential property (over 158,000 units).
- Assessing all properties at a single rate creates large distortions for people at either end of the spectrum (townhouses or estate properties).
- Creating 3 tiers, based in zoning was deemed to be a reasonable compromise that ties assessment closely to the median imperviousness of each tier (High: ~1,100sf; Med: ~2,800sf; Low: ~5,700sf).
The System of Credits and Reductions
- Non-residential properties and communities built to post-2002 stormwater management standards AND with proof that their facilities still exist and have been maintained, are eligible for a 50% credit on the fee. This is an opt-in program.
- Non-residential properties and communities built to pre-2002 stormwater management standards are eligible for credits to their fee based on implementation of best management practices.
- Holders of industrial discharge permits, in good standing with their permit, are eligible for a 25% reduction in their fee.
- Residential property owners are eligible to take part in a rebate program, funded by the fee, to defray the cost of implementation of best management practices on their property.
Answers to common concerns that may arise about the fee:
- The proposed Anne Arundel County fee is directly in line with those existing and proposed by other jurisdictions in the region, including Harford County ($125), Baltimore City ($192), and Montgomery County ($107).
- The Howard County fee, while proposed, is lower, assumes immediate escalation of the fee in following years. The Anne Arundel County fee is set at a level to be stable for a number of years.
- The cost of the fee to non-residential properties is proportional to the cost to residential property owners, and based on actual impervious coverage. It is intended to be as equitable as possible.
- The state of Virginia did NOT refuse to implement a stormwater fee, in fact, the state has enabling legislation that allows local governments to do so, and Charlotteville, VA did so in the last month.
- The proposed fee structure does affect non-residential and residential property owners proportionately.
- The average fee for a homeowner will be $85/year. That doesn’t come anywhere close to exceeding the average homeowner’s property tax assessment.
Answers to common concerns over the spending and increase of the fee:
- The fee cannot be increased without a separate act of the council and is set so that it can be stable for at least 3-4 years.
- The funds raised through the fee will be used to implement the county’s Watershed Implementation Plan, which is a very detailed document the county has put together over the past several years. Detailed maps and strategies can be found here: http://www.aacounty.org/DPW/Watershed/WIPdocuments.cfm#.UUMut1d8TVQ
- The legislation requires the creation of a specific, dedicated fund, and the money can only be used for purposes associated with stormwater-related restoration. Unlike the state, the county has a very strong track record of not tapping into these funds for other purposes. This special fund will be like the wastewater/drinking water and solid waste utilities that the county already has.
What Can You Do? – Stormwater Utility
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